Back in the summer of 2011 during the debt ceiling debacle, S&P did the unthinkable: it dared to speak the truth when it downgraded the US from its pristine AAA rating, setting off a stock market selloff and paradoxically sending bonds to record low yields. This resulted in a vindictive Tim Geithner promptly warning the Chairman of McGraw-Hill the US would retaliate (which it did), the termination of then CEO Devan Sharma (and his replacement with the all too friendly COO of Citibank), and most importantly, a still ongoing legal fight in which the DOJ sued S&P (and only S&P, not Moody's, not Fitch) allegedly for rating improprieties during the first housing bubble, but even 5 year olds knew it was just to teach S&P a lesson. Today we learn just what the cost is for anyone who dares to downgrade the US. The answer: $1,000,000,000. That is the amount that S&P has decided it will agree to pay in a settlement with the DOJ to put all this "truthiness" unpleasantness behind it.
The sell off was greeted by Chinese buyers as Chinese premiums edged up to just over $1 an ounce on the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE).
Gold price drops this year have led to a marked increase in demand for gold as seen in very large increases in ETF holdings (See chart - Orange is Gold, Purple is absolute change in gold ETF holdings). The smart money in Asia, the West and globally continues to use price dips as an opportunity to allocate to gold.
- BRICS set up bank to counter Western hold on global finances (Reuters)
- Fed's Yellen Hedges Her View on Rates (Hilsenrath)
- China GDP Grows 7.5% in Second Quarter (WSJ)
- Get More Acquainted With Your Knees as Boeing Reworks 737 (BBG)
- Israel Warns Gazans of New Attack After Hamas Rejects Truce (WSJ)
- Israel poised for Gaza incursions after truce collapses (Reuters)
- China Housing Sales Fall in First Half of 2014 (WSJ)
- IBM to offer iPads and iPhones for business users (Reuters)
- Fed's George says strengthening economy warrants quick rate rise (Reuters)
Bottom line: watch your president and government lie every day while pandering and preaching, working solely on behalf of the rich, while you rot away in your part-time jobs or worse, unemployed, surviving day to day on the measly pittance the government hands you to make you a docile little handout addicted serf, and at the end of the day, whatever you do, don't become a jaded, cynical lamenter and disparager, but have "hope and confidence." Truly the road to socialist utopia is paved with best intentions.
Since the US is apparently unable to take a hint to stay out of China's back year, it was is up to China to explain again, just where it stands. Which it did earlier today when it warned the United States, in no uncertain terms, to stay out of disputes over the South China Sea and leave countries in the region to resolve problems themselves, after Washington said it wanted a freeze on stoking tension. China's Foreign Ministry repeated that it had irrefutable sovereignty over the Spratly Islands, where most of the competing claims overlap, and that China continued to demand the immediate withdrawal of personnel and equipment of countries which were "illegally occupying" China's islands. "What is regretful is that certain countries have in recent years have strengthened their illegal presence through construction and increased arms build up," the ministry said in a statement.
While Banco Espirito Santo continues to exist on fumes and life support (that last ditch equity injection by Baupost a week ago may not have been Seth Klarman's wisest investment), a key link in the Espirito Santo Holding Company structure is preparing to default. According to Reuters:
ESPÍRITO SANTO GROUPS HOLDING COMPANY RIOFORTE PREPARING TO FILE FOR CREDITOR PROTECTION IN LUXEMBOURG - SOURCES
For those confused, "creditor protection" = bankruptcy.
- Microsoft to announce biggest round of job cuts in 5 years (BBG)
- Palestinian rocket fire persists, Israel warns truce at risk (Reuters)
- China tells U.S. to stay out of South China Seas dispute (Reuters)
- Merkel Resists Sundering U.S. Ties Over Spying Affair (BBG)
- BES slide, tumbling German sentiment hit markets (Reuters)
- Top 1 Percent Is Even Richer Than Surveys Say, ECB Paper Finds (BBG)
- Puerto Rico Utility May Default on January Interest Payment (BBG)
- Can't Get a Job From an Algorithm, or So It Seems as Hot Resumes Go Nowhere Fast (BBG)
- Bank of China-CCTV drama may reveal power struggle in Beijing (SCMP)
Now that the World Cup is over, and following last week's global macro reporting slumber (aside for the Portuguese risk flaring episode of course), things pick up quite a bit in the coming week. Here are the key events.
- Secret Path Revealed for Chinese Billions Overseas (BBG)
- Traders Flood U.S. With $3.4 Trillion of Bond-Auction Demand (BBG)
- Just in time to cover bad earnings in a massive $3.8 billion "one-time charge": Citi says to pay $7 billion to settle securities investigation (Reuters)
- Troubled Epirito Santo family loosens grip on Portugal's BES (Reuters)
- BES puts in place new executives after central bank push (Reuters)
- Bank of China-CCTV drama may reveal power struggle in Beijing (SCMP)
- Portugal speeds up Banco Espírito Santo management changes (FT)
- Dark pool probe builds pressure on Barclays boss (Reuters)
- Russia Vows to Respond After Shelling From Ukraine (BBG)
- Ukraine forces end rebel airport blockade (Reuters)
- Obama Contends With Arc of Instability Unseen Since '70s (WSJ)
Another round of overnight risk on exuberance helped Europe forget all about last week's Banco Espirito Santo worries, which earlier today announced a new CEO and executive team, concurrently with the announcement by the Espirito Santo family of a sale of 4.99% of the company to an unknown party, withe the proceeds used to repay a margin loan, issued during the bank's capital increase in May. This initially sent the stock of BES surging only to see it tumble promptly thereafter even despite the continuation of a short selling bank in BES shares this morning. Far more impotantly to macro risk, it was that 2013 staple, the European open surge in the USDJPY that has reset risk levels higher, while pushing gold lower by over 1% following the usual dump through the entire bid stack in overnight low volume trading. Clearly nothing has been fixed in Portugal, although at least for now, the investing community appears to have convinced itself that the slow motion wreck of Portugal's largest bank even after on Sunday, Portugal’s prime minister said taxpayers would not be called on to bail out failing banks, making clear there would be no state support for BES.
"To the residents of Beit Lahiya, The IDF intends to attack terrorists and terror infrastructures in the area east of Al-Atatra and Al-Salatin St., and in the area west and north of Ma'bscar Jabalyia. Israel is currently attacking, and will continue to attack, every area from which rockets are being launched at its territory.
The civilians are requested to evacuate their residences immediately and move by 12:00 PM today, south of Jabalyia Al-Badr via Shar'a Al-Faluja. The IDF's campaign is to be short and temporary. Those who fail to comply with the instructions will endanger their lives and the lives of their families.
Silver Up 10.3% YTD - Should Continue To Outperform Gold And Other Assets - Silver’s Unique Properties - Silver: Increasing Technological, Industrial and Medical Demand - Increasing Investment Demand - Silver Undervalued Versus Gold - Conclusion
With EURUSD hardly budging, constantly disappointing economic data (from periphery to the core now), and central bank transmission mechanisms that are entirely clogged and useless for anything but stuffing the pockets of bloated bank balance-sheets with domestic sovereign debt, it is no wonder Germany's Bundesbank has said 'enough'. "If we pursued our own monetary policy... it would look different," explained Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann. As Reuters reports, Weidmann noted that many savers in Germany were irritated by low interest rates and property prices were overvalued in some big city areas in Germany; implicitly threatening the ECB's chatter-box that "this phase of low interest rates, this phase of expansive monetary policy, should not last longer than is absolutely necessary."
Syrian refugees, whose numbers are set to pass 3 million in the next few weeks, are almost all in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, with smaller numbers in Iraq and Egypt. But, as Reuters reports, that looks set to change: UNHCR chief spokeswoman Melissa Fleming exclaimed that Europe must open its doors to more Syrian refugees, having welcomed only a "miniscule" number while Syria's neighbors have reached "saturation point."
The person in charge of navigating the "transition" from the old fixing mechanism, of which he was part as recently as April, was a person who was, drumroll, supervising said transition. Surely, his "consulting" was fair and impartial. Naturally, Mr. Spall is no longer at gold-rigging Barclays, a bank which is for all intents and purposes, falling apart but at GCubed Consultants: enjoy perusing the company at the following link.Said another way, one of the Barclays guys who was accountable in the Gold Market Fixing Company for the price manipulation of his trader (the infamous Daniel Plunkett) is then rewarded by the LBMA to conduct an independent review of the applicants to run the Silver fix!